“Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
(the remains of an old telegraph pole found rotting deep in the woods in rural west Georgia/ Julie Cook / 2014)
Have you ever been so consumed by something that has either happened in the past or is about to happen in the future that you really have no thought or concept of today–of the very moment in which you find yourself?
I fear I’ve spent most of my life in a bit of a dither fretting over the future while dragging around chains from the past. I most likely look like something akin to Jacob Marley in the Dickens Classic, Scrooge. An ethereal being wrapped in heavy chains with my vision cast forward, wondering why it is I’m not moving–forward. Oh I can hear him now bemoaning with those wails of his to a wide eyed Ebenezer.
Sadly I must confess that I’ve always been a bit of a worrier— When I was in high school, I can vividly recall a beloved priest once telling me, as I was fretting over something that I obviously had no control over, that my worries were truly all in vain because I could very easily walk out of church in the next five minutes, only to be run over by a dump truck. . . putting all further and future worries on permanent hiatus.
Always looking back or forward but oddly never looking at now—or at any rate, not very long at the now.
Today’s image is that of a very old and long forgotten row of wooden telegraph poles. The rotting remains being reclaimed by a deep thicket of woods in a very rural area located in the mid north western section of our state. Out in the middle of no where, with only acres and acres of deep dense woods– the debris of a different time and era now lying long forgotten. The glass insulator you see pictured is from the Hemingway company. The markings on these insulators, along with our knowledge of this particular area, date this communication line to late 19th century.
A most odd discovery to find in the midst of an old growth area of land in the middle of nowhere rural Georgia. The news, information and communications once carried over the now long gone wires, very much important during the time, now all but forgotten. The statements, observations and requests, that once sped across these lines, most likely carrying word of reconstruction, impending World conflict and news of sickness as well as joy, all but forgotten to the annuals of time.
For dust you are and to dust you shall return is the foreboding observation taken form the book of Genesis, used by the Book of Common Prayer at the service for burial—the ominous reminder that we are not permanent fixtures around this planet. Reminding us that what was, is no more, what will be is yet to be seen, if ever seen, therefore rendering all that there is, as simply now. The only guarantee we have is this exact moment of now.
Even as I type this post, on the afternoon prior to the morning I intend to send it out, there is no guarantee that it will go out—something, God forbid, may transpire curtailing my ability to send it out on its way–all thwarted despite my best intention of action. So there is no guarantee that you’ll even read any of this. Odd thoughts to ponder. Just one more example of how we spend so much of our today’s preparing for tomorrow. Not that planning is a bad thing, but maybe we plan a little too much.
I am reminded, as we all are reminded, that as we allow ourselves to be consumed by the what “weres” and the what are to “bes” that we have only to “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your (our) heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life or single cubit to your height? (Matthew 6:26-27 NIV)
Worrying and fretting and regretting, all very human characteristics, do absolutely nothing to and for our betterment nor to and for the betterment of our fellow man. So on this new day, this new morning, if you are indeed reading this– if it did actually get to make the rounds, may we all be mindful that what was, is just that—simply what was. What is to be is simply that, simply what is to be—and the only thing we can be certain of is right now.
May your right now be filled with peace as well as happiness and contentment. . .because it is all either you or I actually have.
Hopefully, I’ll be seeing you tomorrow 😉